Catching up with
recent Elon graduates


Samiha Khanna, a 2003 journalism graduate who had been working in a temporary position at the Raleigh News & Observer since May, was hired to cover the News & Observer's Durham police beat. In announcing the appointment, Linda Williams of the N&O wrote, "Samiha is versatile, fast on her feet and always on the hunt for the right detail that makes a good story. She impressed us with her care for writing, her natural curiosity, her work ethic and her understanding of what makes a good story."

Khanna had already been covering the challenging Durham beat a few days a month in her work as a temporary replacement for full-time reporter who was on leave. "I'm up for the challenge," She said. "I'm prepared to work really hard. I am committed to reporting this beat outside of the office. My personal mantra will be, 'Work the beat on the streets.'" Khanna concentrated her effort to earn the position. "I sold myself to the bosses, wrote a beat proposal and told them that I am willing to do anything to make the beat work," she said. "So, that's what I'll do." Her e-mail address is

Matesic moves to WTAJ-TV
Emily Matesic, a 1999 graduate, has moved to WTAJ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Altoona, Pa. She'd spent the previous two and a half years as a weekend anchor/weekday reporter at WENY, the ABC affiliate in Elmira, N.Y. "It was nearly an 80-market jump and moved me closer to home and my family," said Matesic. "I'm the weekday nightside reporter based out of our main station in Altoona (we have four other bureau offices in our viewing area). It's a real joy for me to be working here. We have multiple live trucks and a satellite truck, and being the only nightside reporter I'm always going live from the field. It's a big step up." Matesic won a first-place award in a New York Associated Press broadcast competition last summer for a 90-minute special she produced to commemorate the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Her e-mail address is

Medders Turner earns master's; writes copy
Amy Medders Turner, a 1999 graduate, is living in Centreville, Va., where she works as a direct-mail copy writer for Hecht's, a division of the May Company - owner of many U.S. department stores. She writes content for catalogs, flyers and other Hecht's external communications. She earned her master's degree in mass communication and journalism from the University of Georgia, then began with Hecht's. Her e-mail address is

Hamlin produces SPEED promos
Brendon Hamlin, a 1992 graduate, is the senior writer/producer in the on-air promotions department for the SPEED channel. The cable/satellite television channel is one of the Fox networks, and its main offices are located in Charlotte. His e-mail address is

Messier working on MTV show
Jessica Messier, a 2003 graduate, works in MTV's Music and Talent Development division in New York. "I am currently working on a monthly series called 'Advanced Warning' that airs on MTV and MTV2," she said. "The show breaks new artists and bands that we think are going to be big in the coming months. I am also working at the radio station Z100 on the weekends just for fun ( It's a great job. When it was presented to me I just couldn't pass it up even if I do work six to seven days a week. Everything in NYC is going really well." Her e-mail address is

Matthews moves to Advice Unlimited
Danielle Matthews, a 2003 graduate, recently left Smithsonian Business Ventures to join Advice Unlimited, a woman-owned public relations firm in Olney, Md. "As a public relations assistant and account coordinator, I am responsible for tracking press hits on a daily basis," she said. "I search government Web sites and publications such as The Business Journal or Federal Computer Week. I also provide logistical support as well as proofread company proposals and press releases. I also work with the accounts for the USO (United Service Organization) and Handy Soft." Her e-mail address is:

Hetherington puts stars to work for products
Brian Hetherington works with Retail Sports Marketing Inc. in Charlotte, working with accounts being managed for Wal-Mart, NAPA, Camping World, Energizer, Remington, Klaussner and NASCAR. "I have had the opportunity to attend my first Charlotte NASCAR race; I have been to Nashville, Wal-Mart Headquarters, concerts and more," he said. "The work that we do here really varies from one account to another. We have lined up NAPA auto parts with Alan Jackson to become the official sponsor of his 2004 tour. RSM was involved with getting Dale Earnhardt Jr. to endorse Wrangler jeans - next year Wal-mart will have a new line of Dale Jr. Jeans, so be on the lookout." Hetherington's e-mail address is

Cooper with Big South Conference
Lauren Cooper
, a 2002 grad, has been named assistant director of public relations for the Big South Conference. Cooper's duties began Jan. 1. She worked with the Elon Athletics program as a student, spent some time working in the Wake Forest sports information office and was recently assistant sports information director at Longwood University in Farmville, Va. She will be living and working in Charlotte, N.C. Her e-mail address is

Cater moves to Business Journal
Michelle Cater Rash
, a 1999 graduate, left her work as a reporter at the Rockingham County bureau of the Greensboro News & Record in August to become Focus reporter for the Business Journal Serving the Greater Triad. She had been at the N&R for about four years. "I write trend stories and features for the weekly paper and for special sections," she said. "I also occasionally cover breaking news." Her e-mail address is

Petrini earns promotion in Concord
Andi Petrini
was promoted to community editor for the Concord/Kannapolis, N.C., Independent Tribune. Her position falls third in the newsroom chain of command, behind the editor and news editor, and she is responsible for editing and designing the paper's Teen, Food & Home, Travel, A&E, Health & Fitness and Lifestyle pages. She is also in charge of the paper's internship program and handles special sections. "It's a pretty big move for only being here six months," she said. "But the timing seems right, and it's a good career move for me." Her e-mail address is

Botty is in graduate school
Kate Botty
, a 2002 journalism graduate, is earning a master's degree in elementary education at the University of Bridgeport. "I substitute teach, and in return the school district pays for my classes," she said. "It has been an excellent learning experience. I am earning a master's degree without having to pay for it and I am gaining classroom experience. The difficult part is that I am also a full-time student." Botty will complete the program within the next year. Her e-mail address is

Van Hook reviewing films
Mark Van Hook
, a 2003 journalism graduate, is a contributing author on DVD Verdict, a web site that assesses the quality of DVD releases. His work can be found on the site If you would like to reach Mark, you can send e-mail to

Brady's film hits the festival circuit
A film made by 2003 graduate Steve Brady in a School of Communications course was shown at independent film festivals in Los Angeles and New York this fall. The title of the work is "Music Culture of the Appalachian."

Brady was the writer, director, cinematographer, editor, producer and narrator of the movie, produced for an Elon course taught by John Duvall. "This is my tribute to these people and their music in hopes of keeping this tradition and culture alive for years to come," said Brady. He explained that he shot the film in West Virginia. It also features Dr. Malvin Artley of Elon University, a music educator who has helped keep Appalachian music alive through recordings. For more on the film, check out the web site

A native of Hollywood, Fla., Brady began making movies with his brothers and cousins at the age of 12. While at Elon University, he majored in communications with a film concentration. His entry in the 2002 Elon Film Festival, "Alone and in the Dark," was nominated for three awards. He also shot his original comedy "The Business Game."

After graduation, Brady went to work for WFMY News 2, the CBS affiliate in Greensboro, where he works as a video editor. His e-mail address is

Deiboldt lands a spot at Disney
Allison Deiboldt, a 2002 graduate, is now working as a research analyst for ABC Kids, a division of Disney. She had been working in New York as a researcher for Petry Media Corp., a subsidiary of Blair Media. Deiboldt has been hired by Disney to work with the vice president of research for ABC Kids. Her portfolio will include programming on ABC, the Family Channel, Disney Channel and Toon Disney. She will still be located in New York. Her e-mail address is

Two Elon grads key at 'The View'
1998 graduate Allison Storelli and 2002 graduate Emily Coons are working in key behind-the-scenes positions on ABC-TV's popular morning talk show "The View." The program features Barbara Walters, Meredith Viera, Joy Behar and Star Jones.

As a student at Elon, Storelli had worked in a New York internship for the soap opera "The City" when it was situated in what is now the production headquarters for "The View." It's a strange coincidence, because there was no direct tie between the shows - only Storelli. "After graduation I was pretty lazy," she said. "I was looking for production assistant jobs with no real experience. I didn't get too many job offers. I got a call from a family friend who was with the prop department - he had heard that 'The View' needed a receptionist. Within days, I was working." She spent three months in the receptionist job, was promoted to production assistant and now, five years later, she is an associate producer. "The best advice I can give anyone is that you are not above any job," she said. "Just get your foot in the door!"

Coons is the associate audience coordinator, responsible for filling 200 seats a day. "It's like customer relations," she explained. She completed three internships while at Elon, include work at public TV station WETA in Washington, D.C.; a productive position in event-planning with Carlson Marketing Group; and a stint at "The View." That last place was the one that hooked her. "I started working at 'The View' a week after graduation, and I am still here," she said. "What helped me get this job was keeping in touch with my contacts and writing thank-you notes. It never hurts to send a personal note; no one does it any more, so it's a nice touch and people remember you for it."

If you would like to reconnect with Storelli or Coons, their e-mail addresses are: and

Kellen Taylor at MSNBC
2003 graduate Kellen Taylor turned a 2002 summer internship at MSNBC into a full-time job. She is now working as a production assistant at the cable news network on its weekend morning show. "It's a total start-up job but it is going well," she said. "The anchor is Alex Witt who helped me get the job and was an awesome contact, and we definitely have talked about where to go from here." In addition to her production work on Saturdays and Sundays, she fulfills many roles in the newsroom from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays, helping all of the writers do various tasks, from making graphics to cutting tape. She works 12-hour shifts on her big weekend production days, beginning at 1 a.m. Saturdays. "Our show is on for five of those 12 hours, and I do anything from printing scripts to stacking tape to doing graphics to manning the control room. I have written some stories and they have been aired." Taylor's e-mail address is

Baggott in D.C. doing marketing
Katherine Baggott, a 2003 graduate, is employed by the Washington, D.C., for Corporate Executive Board, a company doing research across many industries, providing best-practices research, executive education and decision-support tools. "My position is in the marketing department, but I'll also be doing some research for new clients," she said. "I'm excited about this job, because I feel as if I will be able to keep learning about the field of communications." She said she used projects from her Elon courses in her job interviews - especially work from the senior seminar course, and she sent her thanks to Dr. Connie Book. "Thanks for giving us work that we could use in the future!" she said. Baggott's address is



Share your news and items of interest. To contact us, e-mail:
School of Communications 
2850 Campus Box 
Elon, NC 27244-2010   (336) 278-5724 
Last Modified: 1/28/04
Copyright Elon University